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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire County Youths Joined Amplify 2019 Program
10:31AM / Tuesday, August 27, 2019
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Eight musicians, ages 15 to 20, arrived in the Berkshires on July 7 from California, Iowa, Connecticut and Massachusetts and immersed themselves in a rigorous two-week residential program in which they learned nine songs, culled from more than 50 songs written by youth in previous Music In Common programs.

Music in Common

Berkshire County youth Darby Taylor, Hailey Peters, Maddy Bronson and Olivia Davis participated in Music In Common's "Amplify" program in Sheffield, Mass., this summer. Amplify is a two-week residential program in which musicians perform songs written by Music In Common youth from around the world. The Amplify group performed three concerts throughout Berkshire County to culminate the program.

Eight musicians, ages 15 to 20, arrived in the Berkshires on July 7 from California, Iowa, Connecticut and Massachusetts and immersed themselves in a rigorous two-week residential program in which they learned nine songs, culled from more than 50 songs written by youth in previous Music In Common programs. The participants also wrote an original piece, "Shine Through," about staying true to self. They performed the songs at three concerts across the county. All Music In Common’s Youth Produced songs and videos can be viewed on MIC’s YouTube Channel.

This year's participants were selected based on auditions in California, Massachusetts, Georgia and online. The Amplify program is Music In Common's only program that selects participants through auditions. This is the second year in a row that Music In Common produced the Amplify program. "It's heartwarming to empower a new generation of musical talent and leaders," said Todd Mack, executive director at Music In Common. "They believe, as we do, that music offers humanity a common language through which we can realize peace and understanding."

Music In Common is a nonprofit organization that empowers youth against hate through collaborative songwriting, multimedia, and performance. The organization’s mission is to strengthen, empower, and connect communities through the universal language of music. Mack founded Music In Common in 2005 originally as an informal backyard jam called FODfest, inspired by the life of his friend and bandmate Daniel Pearl, the late Wall Street Journal reporter murdered in 2002. Fueled by a resonating belief in music as a universal language, that backyard jam has grown into a global nonprofit organization with innovative community-building programming that serves as a call to action in communities around the world. To date, Music In Common has produced programming in more than 300 communities across the United States, Middle East and Far East and operates multiple programs locally, nationally and internationally.


Support group expansion

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is expanding its Healthy Hearts Support Group to include anyone living with a chronic condition. Meetings are held from 10 to 11 a.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month on the third floor of the West Wing of the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, 100 Hospital Drive in Bennington, Vt. Free valet parking is available, and signs are hung to direct attendees who enter through the Main Lobby.

The support group offers guest speakers and educational opportunities. The meeting time coincides with the Vermont Foodbank’s VeggieVanGo 11 a.m. delivery of free fresh produce for community members to the parking lot closes to SVMC's Monument Avenue entrance. There will be free decaffeinated coffee available at each meeting, and families and caregivers are welcome to attend. For more information, call 802-440-0993.


Craneville fundraiser

The Craneville PTO is selling prize calendars for the month of October for $10 as a fundraiser. People can mail their raffle tickets and payments to 20 Prospect Street, Dalton MA 01226 Attn: Shana Spratt or 71 Park Avenue, Dalton MA 01226 Attn: Shana Spratt. Tickets will also be available at Craneville Elementary School; cash or checks are accepted. Winners will be drawn every day throughout the month of October for prizes such as gift baskets, car washes, museum admission and more.


Swimming lessons

The Dalton Community Recreation is accepting registration for Session 1 Swimming Lessons. Lessons run from Sept. 3 through Oct. 26 (eight weeks). A General CRA Junior Membership ($40) is required and everyone must wear a swim cap.

The Dalton CRA offers a full range of swimming lessons including: Parent-Toddler (6 months to 3 years, parent needs to be in the pool with toddler); Pre-School (3-5 years, not in Kindergarten); Beginners (5 years and up); Beginners Deep End (5 years and up - no bubble); Advanced Beginner, Intermediate Swimmer and Advanced Swimmer. Cost for lessons is $52 (plus membership) for and eight-week session and $45.50 (plus membership) for Monday classes (seven-week session). Parent-Toddler classes on Friday and Saturday are $28 (plus membership). Register at the CRA; call 413-684-0260.


Bus route changes

The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority will change the final run of the evening Bus Route 11N to allow a transfer to the final run of the 21X beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 3. The last bus from BCC will leave the Main Campus at 9:05 p.m. to meet up with the 21X at the Intermodal Transportation Center at 9:13 p.m. The times on the final 21X run will be 15 minutes later than the current bus schedule.  

All other schedule times will remain the same as the current 11N and 21X schedules. Specific schedule and/or route information may be obtained by calling the operations department at 1-800-292-BRTA.


Balance program

Many older adults experience concerns about falling and restrict their activities. "A Matter of Balance" is an award-winning program designed to manage falls and increase activity levels, conducted by the Berkshire Public Health Alliance and supported by a grant from Elder Services of Berkshire County. This program emphasizes practical strategies to manage falls.

Participants will learn to view falls as controllable; set goals for increasing activity; make changes to reduce fall risks at home; and eercise to increase strength and balance. The program is geared toward anyone concerned about falls; anyone interested in improving balance, flexibility, and strength; anyone who has fallen in the past; and anyone who has restricted activities because of falling concerns

Classes are offered every Monday and Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. from Tuesday, Sep. 3, through Monday, Sept. 30, at the Cheshire Senior Center, 119 School St., Cheshire. Register by calling Carole Hilderbrand at 413-329-2212 or by calling Leslie Drager at 413-822-6236

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